APBC Challenges Cesar Millan
The APBC has joined with national and international behaviour and welfare organisations in condemning some of the techniques used by Cesar Millan, the self-styled “Dog Whisperer”.
Although some of Millan’s training methods can effect positive changes in pets – many pets will benefit from consistency, firm boundaries and increased exercise – the use of outdated “dominance” theories to explain dog behaviour can lead to conflict and welfare implications for dogs.
APBC Chair, David Ryan, said, “As clinical behaviourists, many of whom have a background in dog training, we know that punitive ‘alpha rolls’, lead jerks, jabs and other harsh corrections can subdue a dog – if you are fit, quick, agile, strong, and consistent in applying them. But most pet owners are not. Neither do pet owners relish going head to head with an aggressive dog. Get it wrong and the dog can become more aggressive. Why does Cesar need to state, “Don’t try this at home”? It is because some dogs may react aggressively if they feel threatened or fearful. Also, in the long term, if a dog is confused and anxious about their interactions with people it can make them more likely to be aggressive in general.”
Cesar Millan has a responsibility to the people who watch him on TV and to their pets, as does anyone who provides a service for a cost. In order to fulfil that obligation he must constantly review his methods to provide the best advice available. When he continues to use his current outdated methods he lets down the very pets and people he professes to want to help.
APBC members regularly work with dogs that show extreme aggression (dogs that Mr Millan would consider “Red Zone”) helping owners to change their pets’ behaviour with methods that can be used at home without using aversive or potentially dangerous techniques.
“We have written to Cesar Millan to challenge him to take his dog training techniques out of the dark ages and learn how to bring his methods up to date. We would be delighted to help him.”
NOTES FOR EDITORS
The APBC, founded in 1989, is the leading organisation in the field of companion animal behaviour and many of its members are at the cutting edge of the latest research into this rapidly growing discipline. The APBC organises a number of seminars and events throughout the year for both the veterinary and behaviour professions. Further information can be found at www.apbc.org.uk
The APBC is celebrating its 21st birthday in 2010. As the majority of cases referred to APBC members involve some form of aggression there will be a one day seminar focusing on this emotional subject. The event will be held on Saturday, 6 March 2010 at Stoneleigh Park Lodge Hotel, Warwickshire. www.apbc.org.uk/21st Birthday Seminar